Deers are mostly wild animals classified into the Cervidae family. There are 43 known species of deer, and only one species – the reindeer, has been domesticated. A distinctive feature – the antlers, separates deer from other animals, irrespective of the species.
All male deers have antlers except the domesticated reindeer species, with male and female sexes carrying antlers. Deer are also known for their large and tiny hooves on their feet. You can find deers in Africa, Europe, Asia, Americas, but not in Antarctica or Australia.
Both reindeer and wild deers are herbivorous animals. They fed on various types of plants and crops. Even typical repellents like daffodils are deers’ favorite. They eat tulips, taxus, hosta, lavender, cosmos, peonies, and dogwoods.
Regular food and cash crops such as acorns, grasses, shrubs, sedges, nuts, forbs, and vegetables are a good source of deers’ nutrition requirements in diets. Deers are selective with diet. They always go for succulent plants before turning to herbaceous plants for food.
Effects of Deers on Plants
Deers are known herbivores, and their effects on plants cannot be undermined. They are key actors in the plant ecosystem affecting the distribution and population of plants. Unlike other animals, deers possess a height advantage and can track fruit crops, twigs, leaves, and branches of some trees with average height. Below are observable effects of deers on plants;
- Deers are herbivores that feed and craze on plants. They can track down crops, fruits, nuts, and succulent plants, which provide essential nutrients. Plant food aids digestibility and increases their resistance to specific diseases.
- They reduce crop and farm yield. The more your crops and plants are preyed upon by deers, the more you record shortages in expected yield and output.
- Besides suffering from other adverse effects of climatic changes, your crops risk damage, breakage, and uprooting from the bulldozing trail of deers.
- Deer kill plants. The activities of deers expose trees, plants, and crops to sundry damage. Deers contribute to plant death. Plants fed upon are weakened and unable to process basic life-sustaining activities such as photosynthesis and metabolism.
- Deers reduce plant population in the ecosystem with profound effects on biodiversity. Highly targeted plants such as sempervivum, cactus, agave, stool, and hens and chicks can be depleted by the activities of deers.
How To Protect Plants From Deers
Deers are typical plant pests. They are herbivores feeding mainly on plants for their food and can destroy and damage your trees, crops, fruits, and vegetables. Using the measures below, you can keep your plants and garden safe from deer attacks.
1. Scented Bar Soaps
Do you know that your Bar soaps are strong and effective deer repellent? Scented bar soaps are irritating to deers. Gardeners with vulnerable outdoor plants can use it to scare away deers. However, the intensity of the scent is a factor. Let it be a high-scenting bar soap.
If you want to use them on your potted plants, don’t place them inside the pot. Place it close to the pot. You can also use it on plants in your garden. Use strings to hang them on the trees and place them around your beds.
2. Use Commercial Repellent Sprays
There are effective deer repellent sprays for plant protection. It deters them and keeps them miles away from your plants and crops. Use the one that has a terrible and foul smell. Put it in a spraying bottle, add a small amount of water, and spray it on your plants’ leaves, stems, and fruits.
Apply appropriate safety measures. Commercial deer deterrent solutions contain compounds that can irritate and create nausea. It is advisable to mask up when applying it to your garden. Also, you should not use deer deterrents on naked fruits and other edibles.
3. Use Natural Deer Deterrents
There are natural substances that can be used to protect plants from deers. It may cut costs if you can access them and drill out your repellents. Predator urine, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, and putrescent egg solids are examples of natural deer repellents.
You can mix rosemary and peppermint oil to have your natural deer repellent spray. 3-4 drops of rosemary oil and 6-7 drops of peppermint oil effectively mixed in a spraying bottle can be deers’ worst nightmare when used as a spray in your farm or garden. Don’t spray on naked fruits.
4. Use Fencing and Mesh Barriers
Mesh and nets can help barricade deers from accessing your garden and plants. However, the extent to which it can deter adult deer is disputable. This is because adult deers will attempt to break through transparent barriers if they can spot objects from the other end.
A good fencing system with a strong iron mesh sunk deep into the ground and over 9ft tall is recommendable. Deers with long feet and can jump over 8ft and below defenses. A non-transparent fence is also preferable but ensures that your garden and lens are still exposed to a good dose of sunlight necessary for growth.
5. Use Motion Sensors
Lights and sounds powered by solar systems can protect your plants from deers. They frighten and scare them away. However, after a while, they may not be effective in beating the intelligence of a herd of deers. Deers may subsequently learn the trick when it turns monotonous. Motion triggers installed to sprinkle water on the garden periodically can be very effective.
6. Use Human Hair
Human Hair emits a scent that scares deers away. You can gather it from the nearest barbers shop. Spread it around your plants and on the beds of your farm. You can collect it on pantyhose and hang them on the farm.
7. Grow Deer Repellent Plants
There are deer deterrent plants that you can plant on your farm to scare away deers. Thyme, marigold, mint, foxglove, yarrow, lavender, and catmint are some of the deer deterrent plants you can grow in your garden. You can plant them companion plants or use them as boundaries on your farm. They emit an odor that scares off deers from your plant.
How Can You Protect Deers From Home-grown Plants?
Deers are wild animals except for reindeer, raised as human companions. Human Hair, watchdogs, and blood meals are some measures to protect your indoor plants from domesticated deers.
How Frequent Can You Apply Deer Repellent Sprays?
It is advisable to apply deer sprays at least every 3-4 weeks. Let the plant dry up after each spray. Don’t water the plant after applying repellents to prevent it from being washed off and making it less effective. You can alter the spray schedule depending on the pressure from deers.
When Should You Apply Deer Sprays?
The best time to apply deer repellent sprays on your plants and crops is when the weather is friendly. Don’t apply in extremely hot or cold weather. It can affect the effectiveness of the spray. A temperature above freezing condition and not too hot is recommended.